At Northwest Outfitters in Coeur d’Alene, Pat Way said there have been some small windows of opportunity on the Coeur d’Alene and Clark Fork, but for the most part, water has been high. The Clark Fork is particularly frustrating when it is rising, but when the opportunity presents itself, the Prince Nymph is a good choice.
Rocky Ford is usually good this time of year, but midweek is definitely best. For a real fly fishing treat, plan a two-day trip to the Missouri. It’s a five-hour drive, but because it is heavily dammed, there is not so much water fluctuation. There are some huge rainbow and browns in the Missouri and spring is a good time to fish them.
Trout and kokanee
Lake Roosevelt is dropping about 6 inches a day and fishing has slowed for both bank and boat anglers. Nevertheless, it is still one of the best bets around. Two friends who fished from shore near Lincoln on Tuesday caught five, lost three and had several other bites in seven hours.
Anglers at Spring Canyon say they are still catching fish, both rainbow and kokanee, by trolling perch pattern K-Flies and Wedding Rings with a 000 dodger. Orange Rapalas can also be good. Jones Bay is said to be slow.
Rufus Woods triploids are biting at the lower net pens for anglers tossing Power Bait or Gulp Eggs off of slip sinkers. Most fish are the recently planted 2-pounders, but a few larger ones are mixed in.
Waitts Lake ice is still good and anglers are taking rainbow and brown trout around the lake. Hatch and Williams lakes are also fishing well, with both giving up 13- to 14-inch rainbow. The best bite is early.
Rock Lake bank anglers are taking 13- to 16-inch browns near the outlet. Boat anglers trolling Rapalas are beginning to zero in on the lake’s huge rainbow. Sprague Lake is almost ice-free.
Steelhead fishing was slow this week on the Upper Columbia in Washington, but the Clearwater River in Idaho is fishing well for steelhead from Cherry Lane into the South Fork. The Snake River is good above Heller Bar all the way to the dam. The Grande Ronde was high at midweek but beginning to drop. It may be fishable by the weekend. Use your larger presentations.
Walleye fishing on Lake Roosevelt isn’t hot, but it has been consistent from Hunters down to Hawk Creek. Make sure you are banging the bottom with your blades and jigs. A few good reports have come from the Kettle Falls area, but the Spokane Arm has been muddy.
Potholes Reservoir is clear of ice, though there are still patches in the dunes and in Lind Coulee. A couple of large walleye were caught near Goose Island on blade baits recently.
Pike fishermen throwing bait under a bobber have been catching a few fish in Pend Oreille River bays. The bite is inconsistent.
Perch anglers can still do well at times early at Silver Lake, though the ice over the deep-water honey hole is diminishing and more smaller fish were caught there this week than before. The ice just out from the public access is cloudy and could be getting bad, though there were still anglers out at midweek.
Eloika Lake perch may be moving into shallower, weedier areas for the spawn. Several anglers reported bigger perch in the weeds, but I didn’t find that to be so on a Thursday outing. Fishing toward the north end, two friends and I caught about 50 perch and a lot of pickerel, but many of the perch were less than 6 inches long. Ice is a foot thick.
Fish Lake in Chelan County is good for perch 7-9 inches. Ice was 8 inches thick at midweek.
Pike anglers are getting some action at the Sportsman’s access on Hayden and at Twin lakes. The mixed-species lakes around Coeur d’Alene are still ice-covered, but watch the shorelines where it is pulling back. Ice is gone from the Chain lakes.
Bonneville Pool, The Dalles Pool and John Day Pool are giving up walleye to boat anglers.
The Columbia River and tributaries from Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam will be closed to the taking of white sturgeon beginning Saturday through Dec. 31.
Catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon will still be allowed between Bonneville and The Dalles dams. The section of the Columbia River and tributaries between The Dalles Dam and McNary Dam remain open to sturgeon retention until respective harvest guidelines for each reservoir are reached.
Beginning Saturday in portions of southern Idaho, the “light goose” (snow, blue and Ross’) season in Idaho starts and runs through March 10. Viewing hotspots, including Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area and Payette River Wildlife Management Area, are closed to light goose hunting until the fall, but the closures enhance the light goose hunt by providing sanctuaries which encourages geese to hang around. For more information regarding the spring light goose season, refer to the 2010 Idaho Waterfowl Seasons and Rules booklet.